If a Columbus Eagles soccer match is played, but no one streamed it, did it really happen? The answer is yes. Three times, in fact.
The Eagles had a busy Saturday in Cincinnati, at the Great Lakes Division Premier Arena Soccer League Tournament. This was an event allowing multiple teams to meet in one place to play against each other, so no formal tournament winner was crowned. All match results went towards the divisional standings.
Columbus Eagles CEO and interim coach Mark Wise discussed the matches with Massive Report. It was a night that started with a loss, ended with a win and had a lot of goals in between.
In the words of Wise, “I hate losing to Cincinnati.”
The first of three Saturday matches was against the defending PASL champion and cross-state rival, the Cincinnati Sirens. The Eagles weren’t able to overcome Cincinnati’s experience playing the arena game and fell 7-3. It was a physical contest, which is to be expected in a game between the two sides.
“There were times when a Columbus player was going for the ball and they ended up upside down,” said Wise. “I thought the girl was going to be carded and tossed out in my opinion, but it was nothing to the referee.”
Even with a loss, Wise saw improvement from the Eagles, who are playing their first season in an arena league. Though there was improvement, he still wants the team to take better advantage of the walls. Cincinnati used them more to their advantage by passing and indirect shots.
One name on the roster that jumped out was former Ohio State defender Morgan Wolcott, who was playing in her first Eagles match. While she started on defense, Wolcott didn’t stay at the position for long. She made multiple runs offensively, even scoring one of the three Eagles goals.
“When I saw her speed and movement on the ball, I rotated her into the top,” said Wise. “She has just got moves and the speed and nose for the goal. Not sure how I’m going to rotate her going forward, but I’m going to give her chances to get near the goal.”
Those chances came in the second match, where the Eagles beat the Grand Rapids Wanderers 16-3. Grand Rapids played its first matches in the PASL on Saturday. At it was certainly a wake-up call for the Wanderers.
After scoring only twice last week in a 9-2 loss to the Chicago Mustangs, and three in the loss to the Sirens, the Eagles started scoring and didn’t stop. Wise linked the high goal discrepancy to respecting the other side.
“If I was coaching youth, I’d say to pass around, but this is a top league in the country,” said Wise. “We came to play and they came to play us, so we played.”
Wise extended a post-match apology to the new side, who was founded in 2020, but is happy with how his team bounced back from a tough loss. It won’t be long before the Eagles see the Wanderers again, as Grand Rapids travels down to Columbus this Saturday.
The team’s final match of the weekend kicked off just before 10 p.m. ET against another new side in the Chicago Brujas, in. a game that was described as “feisty.”
“They had a couple quality players that could dance on the ball,” said Wise. “They did futsal work and were great in tight spaces.”
Columbus won the match, the only scheduled game between the two teams this year, 6-3.
With their two victories, the Eagles move into second place in the PASL Great Lakes standings. Cincinnati leads the division with seven points, followed by Columbus’ five points and the Chicago Mustangs in third place with four. There’s still time for the Eagles to move into the top spot with matches against both the Mustangs and Sirens in the month of March, the final three matches of the indoor season.
Supporters can stream the game against Grand Rapids this Saturday at 3 p.m. ET on the Columbus Eagles website. The team is also selling virtual tickets, for supporters to win prizes from the club and team sponsors.